NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 17 – Russia vetoed again a U.N. resolution that would extend for 30 days the mandate of the expert body charged with determining responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The Japan-drafted resolution received 12 votes in favor, one abstention and two votes against: one from the Russian delegate, the other from Bolivia. The mandate of the investigation stops at midnight tonight.
A negative vote – or veto – from one of the Council’s five permanent members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States) means a resolution cannot be adopted. The Russian veto is the second in two days. The Japanese proposal was for a short renewal of the JIM (Joint Investigative Mechanism) with the possibility of further extension. “The JIM is a crucial non proliferation tool. We are disappointed for the result of the vote”, the Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who chaired the meeting and called, following a Swedish proposal, further consultation to see if there is a glimpse of hope to keep the mechanism alive.
The vote was the result of a last minute attempt to find a compromise to keep alive the panel, one day after it appeared doomed by an acrimonious face-off between Russia and the Western powers. The Russian delegation participated to all consultations. “Only if fundamental flaws in the mechanism are corrected, Russia will be able to vote for its extension”, said the Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya after the vote.
“For the tenth time on Syria, and the fourth time on chemical weapons, Russia has actively obstructed the international community’s ability to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks,” Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, said after the vote.
The JIM was established by the Council, unanimously, in 2015 to identify “to the greatest extent feasible” individuals, entities, groups or Governments perpetrating, organizing, sponsoring or otherwise involved in the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria. (@OnuItalia)
To view the meeting of the Security Council on Syria click here: